Will Hipsters Buy Cars?

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Zachary Gayle, an unemployed 18-year-old in New York City, says he doesn't have enough money to buy a car—not that he's bothered by the fact.

"If I had the funds, I would not get a car," he said. "A car is, like, the worst thing you can invest in. You buy it, and it just loses value immediately after you drive it off of the lot...I'm not going to buy a car, probably ever."

With Millennials increasingly moving to cities and scaling back expenses, they are more commonly of Gayle's mindset and doing without vehicle purchases. Add to that the rise of car-share and p2p programs, and auto companies are left grasping at straws to try to get through to a cohort that increasingly eschews its offerings.

"Millennials are really savvy about blocking out marketing messages," said Sheryl Connelly from Ford's Global Trends and Future team who led a panel discussion this summer called 'Hipsters Hate Cars.' "They've grown up with all this technology, and they know Internet ad-blockers and RSS feeds...so it's much harder for a traditional marketer to reach them."

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Plus, getting a license used to be a rite of passage and the true milestone of independence. Not so much anymore with less enthusiasm around the mobility and independence a set of wheels can offer.